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Love Our Blog Posts? Give Us a Tip!

Just a note y’all – we’ve turned on Tipping for the Duck Prints Press Tumblr Blog (here) and for our original posts (EXCEPT those written by guest bloggers, because US getting tips for a post written by a guest blogger just feels super awkward and not-quite-right).

So, if you want to support us, and you don’t want to become a ko-fi member, back us on Patreon, or shop at our store…now you have yet another option!

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Announcing: The Contributors to “He Bears the Cape of Stars” and “She Wears the Midnight Crown”!

36 remarkable authors—18 for He Bears the Cape of Stars, 18 for She Wears the Midnight Crown—have come together for this project. These authors have been toiling away on their stories since February 1st, 2022, and we’re currently work with them on edits to get them publication-ready. We’re delighted to share their work with you!

Contributors to He Bears the Cape of Stars:

Contributors to She Wears the Midnight Crown:

You can read about them—in their own words!—see select author portraits, and more, by clicking this link:

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The “And Seek (Not) to Alter Me” Kickstarter is Now Finished!

Duck Prints Press LLC is thrilled to share that our second crowdfunding campaign, aimed at raising $12,000 to enable us to publish And Seek (Not) to Alter Me: Queer Fanworks Inspired by William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” has come to a successful conclusion! Over 30 days, 242 backers contributed to support us for a total of $14,914 US.

Backing the campaign was the only way to get a print copy of this gorgeous anthology, but it’s not your only purchase opportunity! We expect that the e-book version (in ePub, Mobi, and PDF formats) will go up for sale on our website sometime in July; if we have any extra merchandise, we’ll likely offer that for sale at that time, too. So keep your eyes peeled (and make sure you follow us on social media!) and you can be among the first to hear!

Whether you backed this campaign or not, always remember that you can support us, and the fan-creators-transitioning-to-original-creation with whom we work, by backing us on Patreon. Alternatively, if you prefer Ko-fi, we don’t yet offer a subscription model on Ko-fi but we will soon (we expect to set it up in the next week or two! We’ll likely also open a merchandise store there) so consider following us there, and you’ll get a notification when we open up monthly subscription options there! And, of course, you can buy our books and merchandise anytime through our webstore!

Wondering what’s next for Duck Prints Press?

We’re so glad you asked, because the answer is: a lot!

  1. Our next two anthology, She Wears the Midnight Crown and He Bears the Cape of Stars, are in-process. These two anthologies feature stories involving masquerades – in all kinds of settings, and with a very loose definition of what counts as a masquerade! She Wears the Midnight Crown focuses on wlw stories. He Bears the Cape of Stars focuses on mlm stories. Both include a huge variety of settings, types of characters, relationship models; we’ve got lots of genderqueerness and poly, too. Authors’ final check in is today; based on the editors’ reviews of work submitted at Check In 1 and Check In 2, trust us, you are not gonna want to miss these two books! We’ve also recently (technically, today!) contracted an artist for the two front covers – more on that in the coming days!
  2. The crowdfunding campaign for these two anthologies has a planned June 15th launch date, but! As promised in January when we were recruiting authors, we will not be continuing our relationship with Kickstarter. Instead, we will be working with Seed & Spark, an independent crowdfunding platform that focuses on projects that tell stories; they primarily work with film media, but we’ve had a lovely e-mail chat with the folks there – they’re happy to have us, and we’re delighted to be an early (but not the first!) book publishing project launching there. We’ve got a member profile there already set up – so, if you have an account there, we encourage you to give us a “follow,” and if you don’t have one yet, now might be a great time to make one! We’ll also share a followable version of our project at least a couple weeks before launch – we’ll make an announcement when the time comes, so be on the look out.
  3. With the help of our Patrons, we’ve officially decided on the theme for our fifth anthology! The project is still in its early planning phases – we have a theme but no title or schedule – but at our management meeting this week, we’ll be discussing a tentative timeline for production which amounts to, “hopefully formally announced/opened for recruitment in June, with an anticipated crowdfunding campaign in the fall or early winter.” Expect an announcement sometime in late spring or early summer.
  4. We’re also in the very early planning stages of an erotica anthology and our next “Queer Fanworks Inspired By…” anthology. Both would have 2023 crowdfunding releases.
  5. Now that we’re almost caught up, work-wise, on the backlog of editing that resulted from my health issues, we’re also looking to other “next projects,” especially working on publishing more novels. We expect to build on our existing relationships with A. L. Heard and Tris Lawrence, by publishing a re-edit of Hockey Bois and editing and helping crowdfund further books in Lawrence’s “Welcome to PHU” ‘verse. We’re hoping to have Hockey Bois our sometime this summer and a crowdfunding launch for “Missed Fortunes” and “Into the Split” (books 2 and 3 of the “Twinned” trilogy) sometime in Quarter 4. In addition to these known projects, we’ll be opening the floor to authors who’ve previously worked with us, likely in late summer or early fall, to discuss projects they may have in mind or in progress that they’d be interested in pursuing and potentially publishing with us. We’re tentatively hoping to publish 3 – 4 anthologies in 2023 and up to 4 novels. And, as always, you bet your bottom dollar everything is gonna be hella queer!
  6. As you may be aware, Patrons at the $10 and $25 level on our Patreon get access to one erotica story per month, written just for them – but, what you may not realize is that after 6 months, the rights for those stories revert to our authors in full, and they can do what they wish with those stories – including publishing them with us! One of our authors has opted to do so, and we’re hoping to have the story published on our website by the end of April (more information on this soon)! We’ve been hard at work tweaking our website and shop configuration in preparation for this, and Alessa Riel has developed an awesome variation on our standard Dux logo, for all your citrus-scale needs…

We’ll share more on the erotica label soon!

And none of this includes our ongoing projects – our regular blogging on writing, publishing, and prompting (we’ve been expanding our stable of blog post authors!); events like #drabbledaysaturday on Twitter and May Trope Mayhem (coming in 2 weeks!); our monthly Patreon short stories and erotica stories; and more!

As you can see, there’s a lot in the pipeline, and there’ll continue to be more to come. The success of both of our first crowdfunding campaigns has been a huge boost for us, helping us build a profile, grow our relationships, develop more reliable streams, and more. Thank you all for your support, your reads, your signal boosts, your backing, and your interest. There’s loads more work to do, of course…but the result of that work is going to be a growing catalog of amazing queer works by queer authors and artists, and honestly? We couldn’t be more excited about what tomorrow will bring!

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Help Us Decide the Theme of Our Fifth Anthology!

Right now through next Friday, our Patrons have the opportunity to vote on which of three possible themes we’ll use for our next anthology (or, specifically, our fifth anthology – And Seek (Not) to Alter Me is our second anthology, and our third and fourth are already in the works). Here’s what we’ve already established about the anthology:

1. This anthology will feature genderqueer characters who AREN’T trans – genderfluid, agender, non-binary, bingender, omnigender, polygender, pangender, etc. This means that at least one of the main characters in every story must have a non-cis non-trans genderqueer identity.

2. Stories should be relatively fluffy/optimistic, and must have a Happily Ever After or Happily for Now ending.

3. All stories must incorporate a family element – in a positive light. So, NOT stories about “someone comes out and the family isn’t happy;” instead, we’re looking for stories about genderqueer folk having wonderful family experiences. This can be biological family, found family, married life, platonic, romantic, parenthood, adoption, fostering, etc. – we’re taking a loose definition of family, and we’ll be encouraging people to pitch stories that are not romantic. (there’ll be some romance also, promise, but we want a variety!)

That covers a lot, so what’s left? Setting! Our Patrons are voting on whether these stories will take place in an aetherpunk setting (a modern or historical setting featuring technology that runs on magic); a solarpunk setting (a modern or near-future setting featuring solutions to ecological issues and an emphasis on solar power); or a tidalpunk setting (a modern or near-future setting (also) featuring solutions to ecological issues, with an emphasis on the ocean, water, and living asea).

Are you itching to help steer the future of this project? Now is your chance! Become a Patron of ours, and cast your vote!

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Additions to Our Management Team!

We just wanted to take a minute to draw some attention to the updates to our management team page as we welcome some new staff to our ranks! First, Adaille, who was a member of our founding team but had to take a step back due to personal reasons, will be returning to help with management and to do editing on our upcoming anthologies She Wears the Midnight Crown and He Bears the Cape of Stars. We also invited five specialists to our team. All are people who have worked with us before as authors, artists, graphic designers, or in other roles. We’re really excited that they each agreed to take on more active roles in the Press!

Transparent Duck Print Divider

Miss Aceriee is our art advisor, merch reviewer, and artist mentor. Biography: Hi! I’m Aceriee and I draw sometimes. I’ve been drawing all my life, but after falling into the Supernatural fandom in 2014 I’ve mostly focused on fanart.

Links: Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter

Willa Blythe is joining us to help with our social media presence, event running, marketing, and communication. Willa made her storytelling debut at age 4 with indie smash, Sam the Stinky Skunk, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Her first audience – her grandparents – shared a love of art and craft with her that remains central to Willa’s writing practice over thirty years later. Today, she lives in New York with her family, and primarily writes queer romance and speculative fiction.

Links: Personal Website | Twitter

Adrian Harley works with us as a copy editor. Adrian is an almost-lifelong North Carolinian and a fantasy fiction aficionado who didn’t start delving deep into fandom until adulthood. They are an editor of research by day and an aspiring novelist, also by day. They go to bed early. They have short stories forthcoming in OFIC Magazine and future Duck Prints Press anthologies. They live with their husband and a perfectly reasonable number of cats.

Link: Twitter

Hermit, whose name is Christine, does most of our manuscript text formatting and graphic design. Christine is a Canadian-based writer, fandom enthusiast and cooking afficionado. When she’s not working she offers custom typesetting for various projects because fonts are pretty and all the amazing stories that get created deserve to be made beautiful. She’s handled the typesetting of the previous DDP anthology as well as the press-related title “Commit to the Kick” by Tris Lawrence.

Links: Pillowfort | Tumblr | WordPress

Sunny Powell advises and helps the Press with graphic design. Biography: science and working hard to change the world one act of kindness at a time. I’m a graphic designer by day, a multimedia creator and writer by night, and I’ve been involved with various fandom communities for nearly twenty five years. I live in Portland, OR with my 7 year old son and two cats.

Link: SunnyPowellArt.com

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Today’s the Day!

January 31st has come! We’ve gone through all the new submissions and returner pitches for She Wears the Midnight Crown and He Bears the Cape of Stars.

The authors who have previously worked with Duck Prints Press and who applied to be part of these anthologies have already been informed of our decisions. Because the pitches were relatively short, and there weren’t that many returner applications (28 applications for 16 slots – 8 slots per anthology), we tackled rating them first. All the returner pitches were phenomenal; choosing was really, really hard, but still far more quickly done than going through the new applications.

Going through the 76 applications we received from people who haven’t written with us previously was a much more involved, since all told the submissions amounted to approximately 150,000 words of fiction and story pitches to read. We’ve finished, and we can’t wait to contact everyone. However, before that, we wanted to put up a post explaining a little more about the process, to preemptively answer some of the questions we received last time after acceptances and rejection letters were sent out.

How were people rated?

Every story was read by three reviewers, who scored it using the rubric previously shared on our website (here). Each reviewer scored the authors on a scale from 0 (…no one was close to getting a 0) to 29 (…no one was close to a 29, either).

To ensure fairness, all scores were standardized with a simple statistical model. Basically: each reviewer used the rubric differently, and if we just compared “raw” scores, it would be unfair to people who got “harsher” reviewers (those who, on average, scored all their reviewed submissions lower) and over-weight people who got “more lenient” reviewers (those who, on average, scored all their reviewed submissions higher). To account for this, for each individual reviewer, we did the following:

1. Averaged all their rubric scores.

2. Calculated the standard deviation for all their rubric scores.

3. Ran the “standardize” function on each individual score.

What this does is take a raw score (say, 10, or 20) and re-calibrate it to a new standardized number where for any given reviewer, their “average” would have a score of 0. Their highest rated would have an adjusted positive rating based on their standard deviation (most of ours cap out around 2 – so the highest-rated fics have a standardized score around 2), and their lowest rated would have an adjusted negative rating also still based on their standard deviation (most of ours bottom out around -2).

Doing this enables us to compare apples to apples, because now ALL the rubric ratings are scored as if the reviewer’s average was a 0, instead of us dealing with the problem where Reviewer A’s average rating was a 15, Reviewer B’s a 19, Reviewer C’s a 10, etc.

Okay awesome but why are you inundating us with math?

We share the math on the back end because, whether we accepted or rejected you, you are invited and encouraged to request your rubrics from us (though note that not all of us used it the same way, and a lot of us were, uh, fairly casual? in how we wrote our comments). When you get the rubrics, if you compare them with friends who applied, it’s inevitable that someone is gonna notice that it looks like people with higher or lower scores didn’t end up distributed quite where they’d expect (e.g., someone with a lower raw score notices they were accepted while someone else with a higher raw score was not).

The statistical model above is why this happens. We have two readers who tend to rate fairly high on average (one is me, I’m unforth and if you request your rubrics, I’m Reader 1 for everyone, and I don’t mind sharing that information). We have two readers who tend to rate fairly low on average. We have one who rates fairly middle of the road. So imagine Applicant A got both the generous-with-points reviewers and the middle-of-the-road reviewers . Their rubrics are going to have pretty high point scores. Then, imagine Applicant B got the middle-of-the-road reviewer and the two stingy-with-points reviewers. Theirs is going to look like they did very poorly. But neither of those raw scores reflect reality – the person who got the highest point total on a “stingy reviewer” rubric might look like they did worse just based on the raw scores, but when statistically adjusted, the highest score from a “stingy” reviewer is worth the same amount as the highest score from a “generous” reviewer! So the highest score from a stingy reader might be a 15, and the highest score from a generous reader might be a 25; the standardization looks at the average these reviewers gave across all their rubrics, and enables us to “recognize” that that 15 and that 25 should be worth the same, and once the scores are standardized, both will be about the same.

Does that make sense?

I know it can be weird and confusing but trust me, it’s statistically sound. Or, don’t trust me – trust various statistical experts who say it’s the right way to handle this – for example, this one, or this one, or Wikipedia.

I’ll do my best to add standardized scores to the rubrics if you request them, so that any author can see both their raw score and the adjusted score we used for making our decisions. We are committed to transparency in our processes, so it’s important to us that people understand what we did, why we did it, why it was most fair, and how it impacted our selection.

How DID it impact your selection?

It’s pretty straight forward, really. Once scores were standardized, we averaged the three final scores, and then sorted the list from highest to lowest average. We accepted the people with the top ten average standardized scores for each anthology. Our final decision is entirely based on the numbers. We think this is most fair. Note, though, that “most fair” doesn’t equal “most objective.” There’s absolutely still subjective opinion involved – if you’ve looked at the linked rubric, subjective opinion is in fact hard-wired into our rubric, one of the ratings is “reader’s subjective reaction to the submission.” But, we use this method to help keep things fair and balanced and transparent, and we hope that it helps y’all to understand that you didn’t submit into a black box that takes in applications and spits out acceptance and rejection letters; we are always prepared to share the nuts-and-bolts of what’s inside the application “box.” It’s a transparent box, not a black one. 😀

Cool, got it. How will people be contacted?

As soon as this post is done and cross-posted, I’ll be sending out acceptance and rejection letters by e-mail from the duckprintspress at gmail dot com account.

1. Acceptance letters! We’ve selected 20 authors (ten per anthology) whose work really wowed us, and who received the highest average statistically standardized score on their rubrics.

2. Rejection letters! It’s a sad reality that we simply cannot accept everyone. We got almost 80 applications for 20 spots, so only 1 in 4 people can actually “make the cut.” Competition was fierce, and every single reviewer can point at a personal “fave” that didn’t end up making it. For both anthologies, the difference between 10th and 11th was only a few hundreths of a point. We saw a lot that really, really impressed us, and (as you’ll see in your letters) we strongly encourage everyone to continuing honing their skills and consider reapplying in the future.

Note that we’ve also decided to invite about a quarter of the people we rejected to our Discord server. These invites are issued based on a number of factors, and are entirely subjective – basically, once we’d gone through and knew who’d been accepted, we looked at who didn’t make it and used our editorial judgement to determine who we felt should be brought in. We’re sorry we can’t invite everyone, but…we can’t. We share that we’re inviting some, but not all, because, again – transparency.

I have a question that wasn’t addressed in this post, or I don’t understand something you said, or I want more information about point x, or…

Drop us an ask, DM us, leave a comment or e-mail us at duckprintspress at gmail dot com! We’ll do our best to explain.

*

Thank you all for applying. Reading your submissions was a delight. There was so much here that just blew our socks off, and we can’t wait to get to know folks better, whether they were accepted or not, invited to Discord or not.

Always remember that, at our core, Duck Prints Press is committed to the principal that we want to work with people who want to work with us. So, even if you didn’t make it this time – keep at it, apply again, and we would love to be able to invite you next time!!

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Business Update

It occurs to me that I haven’t spoken much on our business Tumblr about certain things going on in the background of running this Press. Usually, on Sundays, we try to post an informational post about writing, a prompt list, or some other significant content, but that’s been noticeably absent the last few weeks, and here’s why.

Hi, I’m unforth/Claire/Nina Waters, any pronouns (I don’t care if people default to she/her, which most do), and I own this Press. I’m 39, enby, aroace, mother of two, and queer platonic married to ramblingandpie. And I’ve had problems with my back on and off for almost 15 years. In the last 4 years that’s very much been more “on” than “off,” and in the last year it’s been continually “on.” Over the summer, it lingered at a constant 2-or-so on a ten scale where 9 is “giving birth without painkillers,” which I have done. Twice. Over the early fall, it was bad enough that I started getting help lifting and moving things. In November, it went into precipitous decline, and I started to get alarmed.

Early December, my doctor said “give it six weeks, see if it goes away on it’s own.” Spoilers, it didn’t. I saw a specialist, finally, on December 30th, and they immediately sent me for an MRI (I’d been trying to get my PCP to send me for an MRI for 4 goddamn years). A week and a half ago I saw the specialist again, and we reviewed the MRI results, and basically, one of my discs is bulging and pinching my spinal cord (less basically, the disc between my L4 and L5 vertebrae is herniated and causing spinal stenosis and radiating sciatic pain down my right leg). At this point, even on massive amounts of painkillers and anti-inflammatory meds, I can’t drive and can hardly walk right now – I get about 5 minutes on my feet before the pain is too excruciating and I have to sit and rest for 5 to 10 minutes before I can do more – and I also can’t sit at my desktop computer at all. And, the meds make me tired and dizzy. The specialist said I should see a surgeon, and while she hedged her bets and suggested there was a chance I wouldn’t surgery, she also considered the case urgent enough that she tried to flag the surgeon down in the hallway and have him see me immediately, and spent the rest of the appointment discussing surgery like it was a foregone conclusion. But I couldn’t make an appointment with the surgeon, because his secretary was out with Covid…and by the time she got back on Monday, the surgeon had also caught Covid, and is out for two weeks, as is another of the 4 total surgeons that the Spine Clinic at the local hospital employs.

I’m seeing one of the ones who DOESN’T have Covid on Wednesday, and again, while there’s a chance I don’t need major back surgery, it’s a very small chance. Based on our research and knowledge and what the pain specialist said (my wife has medical expertise too), we think the only real question on Wednesday will be how soon they’re able to schedule it, considering how bad Omicron is spreading here. The MRI indicates that right now I’m literally continually, potentially, a moment a way from catastrophic nerve damage. Like, if something twinges wrong, I could end up incontinent for the rest of my life, or with permanent leg weakness, or even theoretically paralysis, and I have a list of circumstances under which I’m supposed to go to the ER immediately and have the surgery with the on-call surgeon (who will be one of those same two who don’t have Covid, I feel bad for them they must be SO overworked right now, what a mess). It’d be a huge surprise if I don’t have surgery within the next week or two – we’ve been planning as if it’s a foregone conclusion, and I have a go-bag ready for the ER, because it really is that serious – and once I do, recovery is about 6 weeks of bed rest, followed by months of PT and the slower healing that just takes time.

All that said, post-op success rates on this surgery (I believe it’s a laminectomy?) are very high – if I follow all the medical instructions, I should heal back to 100%, unless I’ve already got nerve damage (which is unfortunately possible but. What can ya do?). Even then, surgery should heal the pain, and I’ll just have leg weakness.

All of which is to say…since early November I’ve been dealing with some pretty damn major health problems. Especially challenging has been my inability to sit at my computer, because that’s where I do most of my writing and all of my graphic work and editing.

I know I’m over-sharing personal things here, and I’m sorry about that – I’ve tried to hold off on sharing it at all, this has been going on for almost 10 weeks, but I think we’ve reached the point where the health issues are major enough, and the impact it has on the business is visible enough, that it’s better for me to simply disclose. I’m not looking for pity; I’m trying to make clear why the business is behind on certain things we’d said are imminent.

Our goal is to have this impact the business as little as possible, but since I’m our only full time employee, and our primary coordinator for major projects, there’s simply a lot we can’t do when my work time is greatly reduced by health issues. The good news is, once it became clear how serious this was, I used basically the business’s entire rainy day fund to buy a nice laptop, so I’m now able to work from the couch (which is about the only place I can sit comfortably). That’s how I’m typing this update – the laptop arrived on Wednesday and I’ve spent the days since getting it set up to do all the things I usually do from desktop, which means I can move forward on some of the things we had to delay.

Specific implications of all the above, as applied to our current projects:

1. The And Seek (Not) to Alter Me Kickstarter is temporarily delayed. We’ll make an announcement (and finally do the cover reveal!!) once we can plan a specific timeline for launch – hopefully, we’ll know that in about a week, after I’ve spoken to the surgeon. In terms of our actual preparedness for launch…I’m behind on my share of the editing, but all the stories have had at least one editing run, and about half are ready for immediate publication. The art is also all ready. We have all the merchandise art ready, and some are in the printing templates. The Kickstarter copy is complete written and edited and has been approved by KS (like, from that standpoint, we could literally launch right now), but only 4 out of the 6 graphics we need are completed; I’m hoping to finish the rest imminently, so that as soon as my health allows and I know I’ll be recovered enough to manage the KS fulfillment (which involves a LOT of box lifting, which is impossible for me right now) we can hit the “launch” button.

2. There are no delays in review of applications for He Bears the Cape of Stars and She Wears the Midnight Crown. We’ve already finished reviewing the applications from “returner” applicants (people who have written with us before on one of our two anthologies or have done a Patreon story with us) and have a preliminary list of accepted authors (no one will be notified until we’re done reviewing all applications). Our team doing the review (myself, A. L. Heard/jhoom, Alessa, P. J. Claremore/Foop, K. B. Vimes, and Lacey Hays/Owlish) are about halfway done with the mlm applications and a quarter through the wlw – I personally am a reader for every applications and I’m finished with the mlm and will be starting the wlw ones today. All of which is to say, we’re making good progress and do not anticipate a delay – we still expect to notify all applicants of their acceptances or rejections by January 31st.

3. The two novels I’m supposed to edit – one by A. L. Heard, the other by Tris Lawrence – I’ve been unable to make progress on, so these are currently delayed, and the authors are in the loop and know.

4. We’re a little behind on Patreon backer rewards, specifically the Patron-exclusive stories. However, we’re working on catching up, and we anticipate that (hopefully) by the end of February, we’ll have published all the backlog and caught up. Other Patreon rewards have not been impacted.

5. There’s a few other things that were in the works when this all started but that we hadn’t publicly announced yet…those are, as would expect, on hold. (As a teaser for anyone dedicated enough to have read this far…this includes our first erotica title and an erotica imprint to go with it, with it’s own logo and sub-website on our main page, and our plans for our fifth anthology, and a call for manuscript submissions, and more!)

As we see it…these are uncertain times for everyone even without “extra” things happen, and something like this health issue couldn’t have been predicted. However, nothing has changed in terms of our commitment to Duck Prints Press and all we set out to do. We truly appreciate your patience and understanding as we, and I especially, get through this. We’re striving to catch up and get back to “normal,” and we can’t wait to share with you all the amazing things that we’ve been working on. And Seek (Not) to Alter Me is a.may.zing, y’all, and the submissions pitches for the two new anthologies are blowing our socks off. Seriously, we’re so excited.

Stay tuned – there’s so, so, SO much more to come!

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Kickstarter, Blockchains, and Crypto

We received an e-mail regarding Duck Prints Press’s official view on Kickstarter’s recent announcement of their intentions to go transfer to a block-chain based system, and if Kickstarter’s actions would influence Duck Prints Press working with them in the future.

For those who many not have heard, Kickstarter has indicated their intention to transition to using block chain in…some fashion…to “decentralize” and make their organization more “open and collaborative.” Their own announcement is posted here, and despite a lot of glitzy-sounding copy, it basically reads as nonsense. Maybe a crypto-bro would understand it but it all sounded pretty meaningless to me (you know, a well-educated professional author and editor). There are lots of websites who have posted more readable explanations, and which thoroughly roasted them, and I imagine the way I’m writing this already makes clear our position, but since we were explicitly asked, and answered, I see no reason to keep our answer a secret.

When I submitted And Seek (Not) to Alter Me to Kickstarter for approval and review, they asked me to take a survey. The survey primary cared about demographics, but there was a free answer item at the end, and I used that opportunity to tell them in no uncertain terms that if they do more with blockchains and/or cryptocurrency, we will no longer work with them. We have zero interest in being a part of anything like that.

Based on my understanding of their announcement, so far they’ve only declared a “commitment” to this change, and started an organization to “develop the protocol.” Which means, for now, we’re still willing to work with them, mostly in the hopes that in light of the blowback they’ll change their minds. However, if they don’t change their minds, we’ll discontinue working with them and switch to a different crowd-funding platform, most likely Indiegogo based on the currently available options and the information we currently have.

I am still slightly reticent even to continue with Kickstarter as things stand now, because if they DON’T back down, the fees they collect from us will go to fund something we truly utterly do not support, but we feel committed at least for our next campaign. Depending on how the situation progresses, though, that may change by the time we’re discussing our third.

Hope this makes it clear that our attitude amounts to “fuck that noise,” and reassures anyone who shares our concerns that we will absolutely not continue to be involved with them if they go in this direction.

And if you actually support them doing this…uh…well, um, good luck with that, I guess?

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“Add Magic to Taste” Kickstarter Update

Things have been a little quiet around our social media as, over the past few weeks, we’ve kicked into high gear to finish fulfillment of the “Add Magic to Taste” Kickstarter. We’re pleased to report that we’re nearly done – all backers who’ve done their backer surveys have had their merchandise shipped, and most have received their things. There have of course been some issues – when aren’t there? – with damaged packaging and address errors, but the rate for such as been very low, and so far we’ve been able to replace everything that people have contacted us about.

With the campaign mostly done, we’re hoping to launch the e-book on our website within the next week or two, so that it’ll be available for sale to people who missed the campaign, and we’ll also have an extras sale featuring much of our merchandise. Make sure to keep an eye on our social media platforms if you’re interested in the extras sale – we’ll have extras of the following items to sell!

The book (seconds/lightly damaged ones only):

Keychains (all are seconds with various degrees of damage/problems, but we have a LOT of them):

Enamel Pins (mostly undamaged, with maybe a handful of seconds at a lower price point):

Bookmarks (all undamaged):

Stickers (small numbers of each, undamaged):

Magnets (both undamaged items and seconds):

Mugs (mostly undamaged, though there’s at least one second):

We may have a few sets of the art prints to sell, but we’re not sure yet.

We do not have any extra of the mini-books or the postcards.

As soon as we’ve set prices and the date the sale will begin, we’ll make another announcement. We expect it’ll be at least two more weeks; we want as many of our international purchasers to have received their backer rewards as possible, both because we feel that campaign backers should have their rewards before new people get a chance, and also because we need to be sure we have enough extras on hand to replace any damaged or missing orders placed by our backers. Sales will be handled through our website store portal. Feel free to let us know if you have any questions or thoughts on this!

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Update: Tweaks to the “Add Magic to Taste” Budget

With the Kickstarter for “Add Magic to Taste” fast approaching, we’ve begun finalizing aspects of our budget and drafting the copy for the campaign! When we settled down to do this, we made a surprising discovery: Kickstarter counts shipping costs toward the campaign “goal” amount. As we hadn’t planned our budget and goals that way, this required a fairly extensive re-tooling of our budget – though, fortunately, we’d already done all the research on shipping prices, we just hadn’t included that amount when we projected that the funding goal for our Kickstarter would be $4,500 (all prices USD). 

We’ve already updated our public projected budget, which you can view here. Note that our projects on sales and costs to produce haven’t changed – the only difference is, we’ve had to up our goal to accommodate the high price of shipping, especially internationally.

Changes we made:

  • Adding our projected shipping costs to the Kickstarter goal amount increased our goal by $2,200.
  • Funds were added to enable us to pay merchandise artists; we’re currently estimating the cost at $30 per piece, and we expect to have a more clear idea in the next two weeks.
  • Originally, packing material was priced from ULine, however we’ve since discovered that ULine donates to some causes we cannot support, and we will be using Valuemailer.com instead; this increased the price of purchasing packing materials by approximately $200. However, on the plus side, we confirmed we can save shipping on some domestic US shipping options by using Flat Rate boxes, and the boxes themselves are also provided by free by USPS, so we’ll be able to modestly reduce costs in that regard.
  • Including the cost of shipping in our goals means that Kickstarter will withdraw their fees from shipping costs (presumably why it’s set up this way, when it didn’t used to be), so also increased the fees we’ll owe them by around $100.

All in all, these changes increased our minimum goal on Kickstarter from $4,500 to $7,000, and increased all our projected stretch goals a commensurate amount.We’ve also updated our FAQ as we transition from the “writing” stage of anthology production to the “sales” stage of anthology production, and it includes the latest information on our projected backer levels and more! You can read all about it here.

Let us know if you have any suggestions, comments, or questions!